To help us stay away from the mainstream news that has nothing but disturbing commentary and visuals, I’ve compiled a list of more upbeat places to investigate online. Best of all — they’re free!
Games — Do online searches for your favorite games to play on your computer, such as Scrabble, crossword puzzles, mahjong and vintage Pac Man, Myst and Donkey Kong. (Use “classic games” or “retro games” as your search terms for the old ones.)
Language classes — Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) is the best language learning site I’ve found, and you don’t have to pay anything! They keep track of your progress and move you right along once you’ve mastered a section. At this point there are over 30 languages you can study.
E-books — Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) has over 60,000 books on its site, mostly old classics and all of them free to read. If you have an e-reader, you can download books, or you can read them right on your computer. If you have an editing or education background, Gutenberg is always looking for volunteer proofreaders to help add more books to the catalog.
Classic TV shows — See if you have MeTV (www.metv.com)on your cable TV lineup. It shows all classics. You’ll find “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Mannix,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Flintstones,” “Wagon Train,” “The Waltons,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “I Love Lucy,” “Perry Mason” and much more. Check the website for the shows and schedule for your area.
Vintage music — While you’re on the MeTV website, click Music at the top for free vintage tunes. Or you can search in a browser for “free online music” and find dozens of vintage music archives. Even Gutenberg has free music, everything from Bach to Irving Berlin. However, you need to listen to only one at a time on Gutenberg.
Now, isn’t that better than watching the news?